Corby Council set to reject £38m solar farm plan

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Plans for A £38m solar farm are set to be turned down by Corby councillors.

At a meeting of the One Corby Police Committee on Wednesday (April 2) members will be asked to reject the scheme.

In December last year Electric Corby and Ennovigo Solar put forward proposals for the solar farm.

Electric Corby had been in negotiations with a private landowner to use a large area of low grade agricultural land within the borough for the scheme.

The council was approached as it has access to cheaper borrowing through the Public Works Loans Board and it was proposed that the energy created would provide low cost electricity to be sold to businesses in Corby, with the council benefitting from income over the next 20 to 25 years.

A council working party was set up to consider the project and members held talks with Electric Corby and Ennovigo Solar, as well as holding visits to the proposed site.

A report to the One Corby Policy Committee recommends the scheme is rejected because of the risks involved.

It says the solar farm would be the largest undertaken by a local authority, with most costing in the region of £5m.

The solar farm would have to be up and running by April 2015, and neither Electric Corby nor the borough council have experience of delivering or managing such a scheme.

The report says: “Once the farm is completed and up and running, the model is based on Electric Corby and Ennovigo receiving £1.8m consultancy fees. From this point forward all of the risks lie with the council.”

The report also raises concerns about the complexity of the scheme and the proposed sales to private customers rather than guaranteed sales to the National Grid.

The report says: “There is little doubt that a solar farm would support our environmental policy objectives and that such schemes have the potential to offer significant financial returns. However, the risks associated with this particular scheme are considered to be too great.”